Rajasthan: Dalit forced to apologise with shoes on head for comment on folk deity
Chittorgarh police superintendent Rajan Dushyant said that Dalu Salvi made the comment at a religious ceremony in Dugar village
A video purportedly showing a 70-year-old Dalit devotional singer apologising in Rajasthan’s Chittorgarh with shoes on his head for saying a folk deity the dominant Gujjar community worships was a Dalit went viral on social media and provoked outrage. Police said that 10 people were arrested over it late on Wednesday.
Chittorgarh police superintendent Rajan Dushyant said Dalu Salvi made the comment at a religious ceremony in Dugar village. He added the comment outraged the Gujjar community and hundreds gathered for a caste panchayat and asked Salvi to apologise.
Dushyant said Salvi was scared and kept shoes on his head to apologise before informing the police. “When I came to know about the incident, I sent the local station house officer to Salvi’s home but he refused to lodge a complaint. We took cognisance on our own when the video of the incident went viral on Wednesday.”
Dushyant said over a dozen people have been booked under the Indian Penal Code and the stringent Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe (Prevention of Atrocities) Act for prompting Salvi to apologise in this manner.
The caste panchayat slapped a ₹1,100 penalty on Salvi’s fellow devotional singer Bhura Gujjar. Salvi told police before the panchayat could announce the penalty against him, some people started shouting and tried to manhandle him. He added he was scared and that is why he picked his shoes and kept them on his head fearing he would be assaulted.
Salvi said a large number of people had gathered for the religious ceremony and many of them were making videos but nobody objected to his comment. He added a person phoned him a week later and hurled casteist slurs over the comment.
Salvi said he changed his mind and lodged a police complaint when Dalits rallied behind him and presented a memorandum to the Chittorgarh administration.
Dushyant said police teams were constituted to identity the people who allegedly intimidated Salvi, and investigate the matter, and arrest the accused. He added more arrests were expected.